I’ve been up since midnight, flushing toilets and opening faucets every hour to make sure the pipes aren’t blocked or shattered by ice. The rest of the time three faucets are left dripping–which is handy for the flushing thing as I need to pee frequently–power of suggestion and all that.
I had made up my mind that I would spend January re-reading A Song Of Ice And Fire (The series more commonly known to television viewers as “Game Of Thrones”.) I thought it would be a good idea to give me something to distract my mind from the usual doldrums of the raw year. I did not plan on reading about Jon Snow on the Wall (hundreds of feet high, made entirely of ice) while it was actually colder here than it is in the book. I mean, the Wall is weeping in the “heat” at this point in the story. If the wall were in my backyard that sucker would be solid, laughing at the mere mortals who need heat to survive.
I do not like winter; I moved 500 miles away from kith and kin to escape it. I feel like a weather Jonah, with the bad joss following me ever southward.
I wish I had something more interesting to say about it all. I don’t really, because what is there to say but “It’s terribly, awfully, excruciatingly cold and I do not like it at all” ? I will say that a few minutes ago I had grisly thoughts brought on by Westeros’ 50 year winters. (Seriously…winters last 50 years in that fantasy world. I do not see myself coping well in their realm.) I was wondering what they do when they are out of trees and coal and whatever else they burn for heat. Then I started wondering how well human bones would burn, if they would stink, if breathing the fumes would carry disease. I’m now obsessed with this concept: Human bones as fuel, a sort of cannibalism of heat. How very morbid, yet how very authorly. Even as I write this I’m working it into my own novel’s world. They do not have 50 year winters, but they are faced with some other shortages brought on by conflicts between races. Remember when I chiefly wrote romance? Well, you probably don’t since I haven’t published any of it. But trust me. There was a long time when all I wrote was daisy-petal stories of unrequited, yearning love. Now I write cosmologies of fantastical worlds. With romance. There must always be a romance to keep me interested. Not a gacky series-of-misunderstandings romance, but grown-up ones. I do so enjoy writing, and right now I’m escaping to the warmth of living in a tropical world. It’s make-believe, of course. But it is definitely not 10 degrees below zero and since they’re underwater I have no reason to leave the faucets running. I shall come up for air eventually.
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Back when I blogged regularly I used to periodically do these stream of consciousness posts where I only corrected typos and didn’t frame my thoughts for writerly presentation. I found them very relaxing and only sometimes felt they were too revealing. Since I’m having trouble writing something coherent I figured that I’d just go with this method of getting something on the books.
I’m writing again. Actually I’m always writing, but now I’ve decided I want to have my blog be active because I need a place that isn’t a book (too long) or Facebook (too short) or Twitter (too contentious and waaaaay too short and waaaay too contentious). I’m pretty much assuming I won’t see many readers so I’m not that worried about what I write here getting too many eyes. Even if I were I’ve been me long enough to know pretty much what I’m comfortable sharing and what I’m not willing to put out there.
Several of my friends talk about sex a lot. I don’t. I’m not ashamed of sex at all. I just think it’s private and it’s for me and my partner and not a matter for public consumption. I get uncomfortable reading other people talk about their sex life because I feel like they’re wanting to take me into a private space of theirs that I don’t want to be intruding upon. I also feel like they’re asking a sort of committment from me as a reader to go with them to that place and I have to say I find it a little offensive. This is something I realise about myself lately. Of course, I also have to say that I don’t mind being offended. I know that sounds strange but I figure most of the time other people don’t intend to give offense. It just happens. It’s like being jostled in a store or something. People don’t mean to bump you in the back of the legs with their shopping cart or to bump up against you as you both come out of the elevator. It’s just one of those things that happens when people are in the world alongside you. I feel the same way about “offensive” behaviour. Folks are always doing something that offends other people. I figure I can tell them I’m offended and they can either do something about it or not do anything about it. It’s not my call. But I like to go on record and say “ow, you bumped me” or “I don’t like it when you do X.” Of course, being offended is different than being hurt. Folks offend me when they talk graphically about their sex life. (I have a couple of facebook friends who regularly do this and I just sort of skim that.) But folks HURT me when they say “fat people are gross.” I’m fat. I am hurt when you say I’m gross. To my mind if you know you’re hurting people you should not continue. I have opinions on things that may be hurtful to others. So I keep those opinions to myself. An sort of example: One person I’m no longer in any sort of touch with AT ALL (so if you’re reading this it isn’t you) has a terribly disgusting, rude and mean husband whom I can’t stand. I don’t tell her–and never did tell her–that I thought she made a mistake to marry him. That’s just one of those things that you don’t have to say to people. And I think that way about most hurtful opinions. Especially in matters of religion. I have Jewish friends who think that I’m crazy for following Jesus because in their view Jesus was–if he exists at all–a sort of Che Guevara of Nazareth. But they don’t tell me that. Anyway, this is me processing all of that. I’m going to stop kind of abruptly here because I’ve strayed above my 500 words AND Gus is gnawing away on a bone. He’s on the landing of the staircase which functionally puts him right by my ear and I can’t hear myself think. So here we go. Whee. I’m blogging.
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It’s New Year’s Day. That means that most of us are going to take down the trees and the lights and the dancing snowmen (that should all be destroyed anyway). We’re going to start depriving ourselves of food and rest, pushing our bodies into new activities, despite the fact that we are still in the cradle of darkness. Come January 2 “The Holidays” are over for the secular world.
In the Christian church, however, those 12 days of Christmas _start_ with the celebration of His birth and last until January 6. That day is Epiphany. We all know the Christmas Story, where the angels tell the Shepherd that Jesus has been born in a house in Bethlehem and laid in the livestock’s food dish. That was when Jesus appeared to the Jewish people. That crowded house in Bethlehem, full of Joseph’s distant relatives, was there to watch this unwed teenage virgin give birth to a child. And they were there to attest to the fact that she WAS a virgin when Jesus was born. That is the fulfillment of prophecy of Jesus being born of the line of David. Epiphany is when the Magician Philosophers from other lands showed up with the significant gifts acknowledging that this child was a King, a Priest and a Sacrifice.
Christmas Day is the culmination of the prophecies of the Messiah’s lineage and advent.
Epiphany is the commencement of the prophecies of the Messiah coming to all nations, Gentile as well as Israel.
The party is just getting started on Christmas. And it doesn’t seem like a lot of fun to continue to observe a celebration once the gifts are given and the food is abjured. But if we are commemorating the Christ Child we miss half the story by putting away the lights before the tale is fully told.
We who are Christians have much more to honour than a birthday. We have a life of the King and Priest who is our Ultimate Sacrifice to celebrate, to honour, to rejoice.
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